Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 379
Melchior Sternfels is also known as Simplicissimus. He is raised by peasants until their farm is attacked, and he leaves to live with a hermit in the woods. With wit and luck, he gains wealth, favor, and rank in several different armies during the Thirty Years' War. He makes friends and works to create a better life for himself. He marries twice, but both wives die. Ultimately, he discovers that his true father was the hermit in the woods who he stayed with for two years until his death. His foster father, a peasant, lives with him once the two meet again.
Melchior is Simplicissimus's foster father. He's married with a daughter. He and his wife raise Simplicissimus until their home is razed by soldiers. When he and Simplicissimus reunite in a spa, he tells his son the true circumstances of his birth.
Captain Sternfels is the hermit in the woods. He leaves his life because he is unhappy with the war and sad over the death of his wife. He cares for Simplicissimus and is unaware that he is his son even though the young man resembles his wife. He is devout and patient.
Susanna Ramsay is Captain Sternfels's wife and Simplicissimus's mother.
Governor Ramsay is the governor of Hanau. Simplicissimus is his page until he is captured and taken away from Hanau. He also sees the resemblance between Simplicissimus and his sister.
The priest vouches for Simplicissimus to the governor and keeps him from being tortured. He also gives Simplicissimus advice to help him improve his standing in the group.
Ulrich Herzbruder is a muster-clerk that Simplicissimus becomes best friends with. He pays for Herzbruder to escape his debts whereupon Herzbruder goes into the Swedish army. Later, Simplicissimus saves him from illness and injury. The two men travel together and maintain their bonds of friendship.
Jump-i'-th'-field is a servant of Simplicissimus. He cuts up the face of the Huntsman of Wesel, who impersonated his master.
Oliver is a man Simplicissimus meets who has taken advantage of his friend Herzbruder. Simplicissimus believes that he was also the Huntsman of Wesel, because his face is scratched in the same way as the man who was scratched by Jump-i'-th'-field. He ultimately dies, and Simplicissimus takes his sword and avenges Herzbruder.
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